Augmented reality (AR) is the ability to create an interactive experience by integrating digital data to superimpose a computer-generated image into real-world situations. Although some people try to use the terms augmented reality and virtual reality interchangeably, they are actually different technologies. AR differs from virtual reality in that there are no headsets or other pieces of equipment to deal with when using AR. As AR applications become more advanced, its uses through a variety of platforms continue to expand. Here are a few of the ways that AR is changing the way we look at the world:

MARKETING APPLICATIONS: Retail stores have caught the AR fever, realizing its vast marketing potential in a variety of scenarios. By providing an interactive experience to consumers, retailers can hone in and offer the chance for customers to try out different aspects of a product before purchasing it. Retailers are also using the technology as a means to supplement a customer’s in-store experience using apps to communicate with guests and provide information about the product.

360 VIDEO: The use of 360-degree video in marketing applications has revolutionized the way that businesses reach current and potential customers. The possibilities are endless when using this technology. The real estate industry has already benefited immensely from its applications, as potential buyers can literally step right into a house and view it virtually. Hotels also are jumping on the AR bandwagon as industry professionals discover new ways to market their products to consumers by providing tours of guest rooms and other resort amenities all designed to sell the property and educate visitors.

SOCIAL MEDIA USES: Not to be left out of the fun, the social media industry was one of the first to capitalize on the many uses of AR. One of the most popular applications of this emerging technology is through the use of filters. The popular social media platform Snapchat was the first to roll out filters to its users, using the feature as a way to set it apart from its competitors. In response to the popularity of the filter feature, Snapchat competitor Facebook has recently announced that it will also be implementing a similar feature in an effort to attract a younger demographic to its aging platform.